Here’s an idea I adapted from a friend. She calls it “Circle Time”.
What it is: near the beginning of your school day (we do it right after our Bible lesson), hit several subjects quick, in the form of a little quiz-challenge. I had no idea how our boys would take it, but jumped right in and tried. They actually love it, and it’s their favorite part of our school day currently (excluding break time)!
What we do:
I pull two to four cards from our Bible Question Card box related to our Bible lessons for that week Here’s what we use but any quiz book/cards/out of your head will do.
First–I ask 2-4 Bible questions quickly and see who can answer!
Next–if we have time, we do a Bible sword drill type question. I read a verse and see who can find where I’m reading. I try to find important verses that they’d find handy to know.
Next comes the map game. Simply–I name a country, they find it on the map with the capital. We are focusing on European countries, and I’ve been surprised at how many I’m not all that familiar with. For us, it’s better than focusing on the whole globe. Learn one area well before moving on. I usually do one or two only.
After countries we do 2 states. Most of the boys know their states and capitals pretty well, so I may say the abbreviation, and let them find it quickly. Or, to make it harder, I’ve tried telling facts about the state, such as flower, nickname, etc. They always want one more. Everyone wants to find one first. I make it a point to stop before they get tired of it so they look forward to next time.
Finally, we go quickly over math facts. I do get groans here, but just pretend I can’t hear them. We run through mostly times and division tables, 2-3 sets, for review. I just have one boy who struggles here, so it’s nice to not single him out. He gets the benefit of hearing and saying the correct answers, and we do more individual review later on. This always reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie school scenes, where all the children recite together.
On a good day, this takes about ten minutes or less. Some days have stretched out more, mostly because the boys want more Bible navigation challenges, or more map searching. I like to see them excited. I am not kidding myself–I believe much of their enthusiasm is fueled my the male need to conquer and win. For that reason, I attempt to avoid any spirit of competition, which immediately kills the nice learning atmosphere that we so desire!!
Thank you, Gloria, for the winning idea you passed along to me!
Now go make your own Brain Game!